Seol Young asked.
“What was strange?”
Kabi waited to speak.
“On that day, we were all a bit relaxed since no one was around, and even while choosing masks, we were talking so much. At that time, Yeom said this…”
“…that when entering, she saw a woman when we entered the palace.”
“Woman? Palace? At the Tianshu Hall?”
“I don’t know.”
Kabi shook her head.
“She said it casually. That she saw a scary woman who didn’t appear to be human. That was it.”
“I asked again, just in case, but nothing. Yeom didn’t seem to remember anything. And to Seol Young-rang too… she said something strange.”
Kabi glanced at her colleague.
“She was in treatment at that time, and I was worried that asking more questions would make her condition worse, so I didn’t ask. But we all heard it very clearly, right?”
All the girls answered in unison.
‘Seeing a woman right before the incident…’
No matter how trivial the words were, they mattered now. Seol Young made a mental note of it.
‘Was there any intervention?’
He looked at Zaha with those eyes.
For a brief moment, he could see a strange expression on his face. The others might not have noticed it, but Seol Young had followed him closely for the past few days, so he didn’t miss it.
‘Is it because of that story?’
He secretly stared at him.
Was it because he was staring too much?
Suddenly, he instinctively felt something faint. There was some disturbing movement.
‘There is something out there…!’
Seol Young hurriedly left.
Seized by an unknown urge, he dug into the ground with the tip of his sword. After a while, something touched it—a metallic ring.
To think that something like this was buried right behind the Tianshu Hall without anyone realizing it…
He hastily dug it up.
Of course, he thought of it as some cursed item or bloody doll.
But it wasn’t.
After he brushed the dust off of it, it turned out to be a half-moon-shaped metal plate. The two pieces were both buried together.
What is this?
He put them side by side, and he realized something.
Putting the two pieces together made a mirror. When he turned it over, the four animals—blue dragon, white tiger, black tortoise, and vermillion bird—were engraved on it. The zodiac pattern was also painted.
The four divine beasts and the twelve zodiac signs.
Seol Young was shocked.
‘Aren’t the Hwarangs based on the four divine beasts? Who buried this here?’
Seol Young flinched at the voice he heard from behind. It made him feel like he had just muttered the answer.
“What are you so shocked about? Wasn’t that what you were thinking? Who buried this in here?”
He turned to find Zaha, who was behind him. Seol Young’s face was stern as he spoke.
“When did you bury it here?”
“Before leaving the kingdom.”
“To keep things quiet.”
He remembered what had happened at the tomb site.
When he told him about the incident in the palace where people were harmed, and how his expression changed.
-It cannot be?
Could it be because of this?
Seol Young exclaimed, looking at the mirror in front of him. At one time, this mirror should have held great power. He could guess it. But now it was broken.
This was surely a divine item.
“It was buried with good intentions. At that time, it couldn’t have been tainted yet.”
Seol Young touched it and used his spiritual power.
Did an evil spirit do this?
He couldn’t find any traces left on it. Even if a spirit did it, this was clean.
“I don’t know who broke it.”
Seol Young mumbled.
“If this is damaged, it might attract dark things, so I will take it.”
“Do whatever you want.”
Seol Young took out a piece of paper and wrapped the mirror pieces tightly. After thinking for a moment, he pulled out another piece of paper.
It was a piece of yellow paper—a talisman. Then Seol Young took a red brush and wrote down ‘Invulnerability to Spirits’ to not let evil spirits enter, and he placed the talisman on it.
It was a temporary measure, but it would work as a fine substitute.
After stepping on the ground, he looked at Zaha, who was looking around after taking the mirror to dispose of it.
And he asked.
“Did you bury the other mirrors somewhere else?”
“There, and there, there too…”
He pointed all over.
Seol Young felt shocked.
“Why are you this diligent?”
“I have to check everything out. Since you provided the cause, will you follow and watch?”
He decided to follow.
The man seemed to have some conscience, seeing that he was digging, and Seol Young watched him.
He dug up the palace grounds, put something inside, and buried it.
All of these were actions that could be considered bad, but he was quick!
They went around the palace and looked at each item Zaha had buried, checked if it was fine, and buried it back in.
There were dozens to check.
Zaha brushed off his dirt-stained hands.
“Only one thing was damaged. The one right behind the hall.”
So, did something odd happen there?
Zaha’s strange reaction from earlier came to mind.
“Who the hell was the woman that Yeom saw?”
Seol Young asked him, but he didn’t answer.
He continued to shake off the dirt from his clothes and hands.
When they were walking, they heard a noise—a loud one.
Without even talking to each other, they naturally headed to where they heard the sound.
“I am not lying! I am telling the truth!”
They heard a middle-aged official talking.
“Calm down. Great Soldier. The Governor has already sent out Hwarangs there too.”
The Golden Ring Troops were trying to appease him. The Great Soldier belonged to the Daily Administration in charge of the capital.
Something seemed to have happened. That was why he had to be complaining.
“What is it?”
Zaha asked, and the Hwarangs who noticed him bowed their heads.
“It seems like something strange happened next door, where the soldiers are.”
“Some ghost stories happened…”
Seol Young was surprised.
“The ‘Nirvana’ painting.”
The man trembled.
“Do you know it? Because of a painting by a genius painter, dozens of people got massacred in one night…”
Of course, they knew.
A hundred years ago, there was a genius painter in the city, a man from a humble family, but his talent was like that of a God. When he painted, things would come to life. Even the ghosts would be fooled.
Everyone was in a frenzy because they couldn’t buy those paintings. Rich people would also travel to get them, bringing tons of grain and silk.
But one day…
An order came from a high place. And it wasn’t just a simple request.
‘I bought a new house this time. On the wall of the largest room, draw a picture of the pure land. It is like being inside a huge picture.’
And the painter drew it with all the talent in him. But as he was making the painting, the painter’s only son died.
The already odd painter turned stranger after this.
He forgot about everything and clung to this painting, and as it was nearing completion, he ran out of energy and died.
The last masterpiece.
The landlord invited some people to show it off.
But a scary thing happened later.
Suddenly, the painting came to life and began to attack people. Each painting turned into a demon and killed people.
Dozens of people, including the landlord who requested it and his family, were killed that night.
“The land went crazy because they thought the painting was possessed. It is said that he caused the bloodshed by mixing his blood in the painting and offering his soul as a sacrifice. The problem is that the location of the painting is at my next-door neighbor’s house!”
The man said.
“Still, nothing happened in close to a hundred years… so what is this? Well, a while ago, strange things started happening. As the story went, the painting on the wall attacked a person.”
This shocked everyone.
“How is that possible?”
Seol Young asked.
“We all know how the story ends, right? The vivid painting that man drew in each room has to be erased completely, right?”
The official’s face was stained with fear.
“But it reappeared again! And that isn’t all. The people who went to the house disappeared. As if… they were sucked into the painting.”
Nirvana that hurts people.
If those words were true, another horror story was coming true.
Just like the warning.
It was then…
A sharp voice.
The people of the Great Heavenly Pavilion came, and the person who was taking the lead had an angry face.
“What did I say? Didn’t I say something bad would happen again?”
It was the head of the Pavilion. Her eyes were fierce as they lingered on Zaha and Seol Young.
“I just came from the throne room.”
She said proudly.
An official who came with her stepped ahead.
“Seol Young-rang. His Highness has given you a mission. As promised in front of the Governor, to prove your innocence, you will solve this strange incident yourself. If not, you will have to give up your life.”
Silence fell, making everyone stiff.
Zaha’s eyes shone oddly.
Did he think the time had finally come?
“Yes, I understand.”
Seol Young just replied calmly.
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